“Vague impressions of something indefinable have no place in the rationalistic system… Nevertheless, if we look on man’s whole mental life as it exists … we have to confess that the part of it of which rationalism can give an account of is relatively superficial. It is the part that has the prestige undoubtedly, for it has the loquacity, it can challenge you for proofs, and chop logic, and put you down with words… Your whole subconscious life, your impulses, your faiths, your needs, your divinations, have prepared the premises, of which your consciousness now feels the weight of the result; and something in you absolutely knows that that result must be truer than any logic-chopping rationalistic talk, however clever, that may contradict it.”
– William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience
Recently I lost one of my best friends in the world. I had known him since childhood and he played a big part in my journey. For a long time, it was our journey. We spent years going to church together and discussing philosophy, theology, science, etc. I could never get him to read a book for the life of me, but he was always there to talk about whatever I was reading or going through at the time. He was my Diogenes. He possessed this unique ability to see things in a way that would never have occurred to me.
And now, all that I can think about is that he is just gone. His life and death have sent a ripple effect through those who knew and loved him, but the waves will someday calm. Where is the logic in that? Where is the logic in a man taking his own life?
“Only time can heal what reason cannot.” – Seneca
I guess Jordan’s death has caused me to re-evaluate many things in my life, and so I decided to write this post. I started this blog using Facebook’s note system sometime in 2010 or 2011. It started as me just saving things (articles, quotes, etc) from around the web that I figured I would want to look back upon in the future. Things that had some meaning to me. I began to add a lot of quotes and sections from books that I own. The primary topic has always been existential in nature; an exploration of ideas that I consider important or noteworthy.
The blog has turned out to be a way for me to look back upon myself in both remembrance and judgment. Sort of like a journal mixed with a database and a way for me to deconstruct my own thoughts and those that I once held in high regard. Sometimes I look back at things and see the error of my old ways. Other times I look back and remember something that I would have long forgotten.
I never really gave any credence to making proper blog posts or editing (sometimes I would just copy and paste entire Wikipedia articles or other articles, including advertisements) because I’ve never planned on monetizing the thing. It’s always been a very personal project intended for an audience of myself and whoever happens to stumble along and find something interesting. Nowadays I’ve turned to Twitter and Facebook to share and retain articles of interest instead of just copying them onto my own website. I’ve since cleaned it up a bit, made it look somewhat nicer, more readable, and added some pictures and categories. When I found some old papers in the attic that I had written I added those. I wrote the My Journey section in late 2013, so that could probably use some updating.
The rational is not thinkable without its other, the non-rational, and it never appears in reality without it. The only question is, in what form the other appears, how it remains in spite of all, and how it is to be grasped… A battle arises for and against reason.
– Karl Jaspers
Meaning of Antilogicalism
Antilogic involves the assignment to any argument of a counterargument that negates it, with the implication that both argument and counterargument are equally true.
– Encyclopedia Britannica
- opposed to; against.
of or according to the rules of logic or formal argument.
reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity.
a distinctive practice, system, or philosophy, typically a political ideology or an artistic movement.
“As opposed to formal systems of reasoning.”
At first, I tried to name the website Antilogic. That was taken, so I tried Antilogical. Again, taken. I was determined to keep the core of the word without adding random numbers or something to the end, so I tried adding “ism.” And that worked. For me, it has something to do with confronting the absurdity of life, leaving behind old models and ideologies. The title was heavily influenced by Kierkegaard and Nishitani. For indeed, where is the logic in faith? Or in love? Or in hate?
“And, in fact, we find that the more a cultivated reason purposely occupies itself with the enjoyment of life and with happiness, so much the further does one get away from true satisfaction; and from this there arises in many… a certain degree of misology, that is, hatred of reason; for, after calculating all the advantages they draw… they find that they have in fact only brought more trouble upon themselves instead of gaining in happiness; and because of this they finally envy rather than despise the more common run of people, who are closer to the guidance of mere natural instinct and do not allow their reason much influence on their behavior.”
– Immanuel Kant
This is not to say that there isn’t a bit of jest in the title. I’m not saying that I’m against the use of reason or the scientific method. I hold both in very high esteem. Antilogicalism is my attempt to understand that which cannot be explained by rationality or science. Perhaps it is my attempt to get to know myself. Many people attempt to do this through artwork or music. Perhaps I can consider Antilogicalism my own work of art.
The Starry Sky Above
“Two things fill the mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe, the more often and the more intensely the mind of thought is drawn to them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.”
– Immanuel Kant
I’ve always held a deep interest in obtaining an understanding of the cosmos. It’s always come as a natural thing for me to be infinitely interested in the structure and substance of our universe. A lot of the time I tend to have a “cosmological perspective,” meaning I tend to see things at both the micro- and macro-level. Sometimes, I admit, this can be a hindrance because at times I’m too focused on the small picture while at others I can get too lost in the big picture. In the end, I chose to add a modified version of this quote as my tagline for the website because of both the influence Kant has had on my thought and the beautiful simplicity of what it expresses.
The Moral Life Within
“Morality is neither rational nor absolute nor natural. The world has known many moral systems, each of which advance claims of universality; all moral systems are therefore particular, serving a specific purpose for their propagators or creators, and enforcing a certain regime that disciplines human beings for social life by narrowing our perspectives and limiting our horizons.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche
Though I admired Kant’s work and breakthroughs in metaphysics, I eventually came to dismiss his approach to ethics. I ultimately chose to modify Kant’s words in order to reflect my own understanding of morality. Descriptively, I tend to agree with Nietzsche’s evaluations of morality and its constant evolution. Normatively, I find myself at all times torn between a conventional sense of morality and an overwhelmingly nihilistic tendency. In my heart, I can justify both the content of global atrocities and the inevitable public reactions of outrage toward such events. During the course of my journey, my sense of morality has shifted many times.
I’ve read that foreign travel can lead to a sense of moral relativism, but also to the courage to create new values. In a previous post, I briefly sketched an outline of what I see to be the only possible ethical system that can arise from postmodernism. I can see the possibility of a globally agreed upon ideal of virtue ethics that in a nihilistic sense may be a fiction, but nevertheless could become the creation of values that serve to both advance the goals of humanity as a whole and enrich people’s lives with purpose. A great deal of forgiveness and the merging of cultural values into a stable, empirical and reasonable foundation would be required to form this ideal.
While I will never again be able to see or speak with Jordan, the memories will live on and I remain forever changed by his presence in my life. I hope to continue this journey while always keeping in mind his unique approach to life and its myriad questions. Shalom, Namaste, and super perfundo on the early eve of your day, friend.
“The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of… We know the truth not only by reason, but by the heart.” – Blaise Pascal